Creative and artistic talents are sought after qualities in the business world. Countless companies and big-shot businesses are after creative and artistic candidates to pick their brain for new and fresh ideas. But what lies outside the corporate and business realm for the likes of arts and craftpreneurs?
Sadly their is a misconception that creative talents are not worth pursuing for money. But this couldn't be further from the truth. There are so many ways to use creative talents to your advantage and successfully start your own company online. Here is the ultimate guide to successful online selling for artists, creatives and talented craftspeople.
Find & Own Your Niche
Perhaps you are an amazing print artist, an expert in sculpting, a carpentry wizard, or even a maker of handmade knick knacks? You need to define and select your niche in order to compete in a crowded marketplace where literally everyone seems to be selling on Etsy. Don’t forget that you can also sell digital creative products if you’re a creative copywriter, blogger, designer or developer (here are some digital product ideas to get you started).
- Do your research - Take a look at what other people are doing to spot any gaps in the market. Even if other people are doing the same sort of thing as you, try to think of ways to set yourself apart. What can you offer that is different to them? Perhaps you have specific expertise in a certain area, or can offer helpful tools to your customers? Find your value proposition.
- Maintain focus - By defining your niche you can stay focused on the task ahead without becoming distracted. It will give your work meaning and purpose.
- Outline your services - You may be a jack-of-all-trades, but without a strict outline of the services you want to offer, you could get bogged down in menial tasks that won't make you much profit. Instead take the time to outline your specific services and products and stick to what you know best!
- Know your brand – Part of finding your niche will be finding your own brand too – opt for storytelling and personality in your branding and share your uniqueness with the wider world.
Devise a Business Strategy
Once you have successfully narrowed down your niche area, then you can start brainstorming on how you can turn your online dreams into a successful business.
- Try to establish a coherent and detailed business plan to help guide you through your new business venture. Make a year-long plan and a 5-year long plan so you know exactly what goals you are working towards and how you are going to get there. However big or small, every successful company needs a business plan to work towards.
- Just because it’s creative and fun – doesn’t mean you don’t have to do all the boring stuff like financial planning too. Focus on profit margins and sales figures – they will be your yardsticks for success. Don’t let bad forecasting blow you off-course and be conservative when estimating potential future income.
Move Fast, Create More
Once you have come up with a solid business plan, it’s time to think about the best way of getting yourself set up online fast.
If you are already a design genius and can code yourself a website, then great. But if you have not had any experience in website design, then it's best to leave this one to the experts who should be able to set you on the right path.
Stand Out With Your Branding
Use your creativity to craft a perfect brand. People will pay more if they feel that they are buying into a brand and a lifestyle, not just a product.
- Tell a story with your branding and carry that through everything that a potential customer may touch or see – from your website logo, to your product packaging.
- Make sure your brand is fit for the market you’re entering and that it hits the right note with its messaging. Conduct user surveys and blind tests to find out more about how people perceive you. Remember, a brand keeps working whether or not you are there to mediate the consumer reaction. Make sure you are sending out the right vibes.
Creative Online Marketing
Promotion will literally determine whether your venture is successful or not – ignore it at your peril. As a creative you are in the perfect position to stand out online with some quirky graphics and cool content. Use your creative energy and channel that into a coherent content plan and embrace the guerrilla marketing attitude.
Disruptive Social Media
- Come up with a creative social media plan for what you will post and when. Stick to this plan and make sure you are posting slightly different content on different social media channels. Post often and engage with your audience – embrace a disruptor mentality over a bland broadcaster one.
- Know your channels. If you are a visual artist, then Instagram and Pinterest will be perfect for you; if you are a writer, then Twitter or Facebook will be a better option. Everyone should be producing video for social media – it’s cheap, easy and super engaging. Take people on a tour of how you make your products or share a funny story.
- Creating great, valuable content is step one of a great SEO strategy – but you also have to make sure your store is optimized for keywords, your images are tagged up correctly, and that you have other sites pointing back to you. Get links from artist directories and use the power of content to score links through guest posting.
- Don’t neglect all the cool local SEO tactics you can do for free – you don’t always need to shell out for an expensive SEO agency.
Be the 1%
Going above and beyond with your customer and store experience can be a great way to create a buzz around what you do. Could you send out funny quotes in your emails? What about lost love letters with your products? Develop your own unique slant on what ecommerce businesses ‘should’ do to stand apart from all the other stores out there. Look at these guerrilla marketing examples for more disruptive ideas.
Using your creative nature, you can create a successful business for yourself in no time. Explore smaller niche marketplaces and don’t try to please ‘everyone’. Know who you are and listen to your customers. What do you think is the most creative approach to online selling you’ve seen?